Retirement benefits


New Member
Can someone explain how the pension for ATC is currently calculated?
I have no idea how pensions work, because they stopped existing anywhere else in the industry even before I entered the workforce. Do you receive it until you die? I keep on hearing that govt pensions are pretty secure, but then again I hear this from fellow pilots so I don't know how reliable it is.. I guess we are used to zero security so anything that resembles security sounds good to us.
Also, I understand there is a separate 401k-like plan. How does this work?

Delta Romeo

New Member
This was in my answer to another thread, so I cut, editorialized, and pasted it for your review.
First, you can retire at 25 years of "good time" if you're eligible under age 50, or at 50 with 20 years "good time." You must retire the last day in the month which you turn 56.
You get 1.7% for the first 20 years, then 1% addl for each year after that. If you had military time, this would add on as 1% per year also, but does not count toward your 20 or 25 required "good time" dependent on your age. So you work for 25 years, all good time, in the FAA, you get 39% of the average of your "highest 3 years of consecutive (base + locaility, not differentials) pay". If your high-3 average was $100,000, you would get $39,000 annually. If you had 4 years of military time, you could add an addl 4% to that 39% figure, so your annual pension would be $43,000 per year pension.
You also get a social security supplement in addition to your pension from the time you retire until you reach age age 62 when you will start recieveing a real SS check. This figure is roughly 65% of what you would get if you look on that statement you get every year near your B-Day from the Social Security Admin. If you take the figure on that statement where it says on the top of the 2nd page, "If you have earned enough credits to qualify for benefits. At you current earnings rate, if you stop age 62, your payment would be (insert amount here). As another example, my figure is $1593 per month. The formula is as follows: You divide the number of years you served under the Federal Employee Retirement System (we'll use 29 years again for calculation - your 25 years of FAA ATC + 4 years military) by 40 = So, 29 / 40 = 0.725. Then you take that figure and multiply it by your number off the SS Statement (we'll use my $1593 figure just for the sake of the example) = 0.725 x $1593 = $1154.92 is what I would get monthly from when I retire (at age 48) until I turn age 62. Remember this is in addition to your pension check of $43,000 annually.
Retirements are paid once monthly instead of bi-weekly. So figure $43,000 / 12 months = $3583.33 + 1154.92 = $4738.25 is what you'd recive from the govt monthly when you retire before taxes and your share of health insurance premiums (the govt still pays their part even efter you retire).

As for the 401K plan, its called "Thift Savings Plan" or "TSP" in govt service. The maxi you can put in annually right now is $15,500 per year. I put in $596 per pay period, and the FAA matches me ON PAY DAY(it is not deferred like Comair and ASA does to its employees) with $235.88. I have always maxed this out since the day I started, so I cannot remember the formula for their match, but you can find more info at